Viral, immunologic, and clinical features of primary effusion lymphoma

Kathryn Lurain, Mark N. Polizzotto, Karen Aleman, Manisha Bhutani, Kathleen M. Wyvill, Priscila H. Gonçalves, Ramya Ramaswami, Vickie Ann Marshall, Wendell Miley, Seth M. Steinberg, Richard F. Little, Wyndham Wilson, Armando C. Filie, Stefania Pittaluga, Elaine S. Jaffe, Denise Whitby, Robert Yarchoan, Thomas S. Uldrick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is an aggressive HIV-associated lymphoma with a relatively poor prognosis in the era of effective HIV therapy. Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiologic agent, and ∼80% of tumors are coinfected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). A better understanding of how KSHV-related immune dysregulation contributes to the natural history of PEL will improve outcomes. Twenty patients with PEL diagnosed between 2000 and 2013, including 19 treated with modified infusional etoposide, vincristine, and doxorubicin with cyclophosphamide and prednisone (EPOCH), were identified. We compared their clinical, virologic, and immunologic features vs 20 patients with HIV-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and 19 patients with symptomatic interleukin (IL)-6 related KSHV-associated multicentric Castleman disease. Survival analyses of treated patients with PEL were then performed to identify prognostic factors and cancer-specific mortality. Compared with HIV-associated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, PEL was associated with significant hypoalbuminemia (P < .0027), thrombocytopenia (P 5 .0045), and elevated IL-10 levels (P < .0001). There were no significant differences in these parameters between PEL and KSHV-associated multicentric Castleman disease. Median overall survival in treated patients with PEL was 22 months, with a plateau in survival noted after 2 years. Three-year cancer-specific survival was 47%. EBV-positive tumor status was associated with improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.27; P 5 .038), and elevated IL-6 level was associated with inferior survival (hazard ratio, 6.1; P 5 .024). Our analysis shows that IL-6 and IL-10 levels contribute to the natural history of PEL. Inflammatory cytokines and tumor EBV status are the strongest prognostic factors. Pathogenesis-directed first-line regimens are needed to improve overall survival in PEL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1753-1761
Number of pages9
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


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